Remote Work Permanence

It’s becoming clear that remote work isn’t going anywhere. A large portion of the workforce continues to work from home. Return to office stagnated. Office real estate value is plummetting.

Employers are shifting from remote work enablement to remote work permanence.

With a permanent part of the workforce always working from home, there are important challenges ahead:

  • Effective management of remote teams
  • Compliance everywhere all at once
  • Accommodating worker preferences

Effective management of remote teams

To be an effective people leader in a world of remote work permanence, managers need to be significantly more effective at building an environment where people can do their best work.

Trust is essential—especially in a remote-first organization. Being overly worried about people not putting in the hours or working two jobs simultaneously is not productive.

Unfortunately, there is reason for employees to feel distrustful. There are massive layoffs in tech stoking fear but don’t improve company performance. Companies are pausing promotions and raises and eliminating employee resource groups. Some are forcing workers to return to the office or be fired. The Overton window of employment is shifting.

What needs to happen?

Managers need to reorient around outcomes not appearing busy. This challenges preconceived notions about management and reveals how reliant we were on seeing people working rather than understanding what jobs entail and the outcomes that are needed to measure performance.

There is no software solution here. My guess is that there will be a massive retraining of managers needed and a change to more asynchronous working styles to fit an increasingly remote workforce. The good news is these changes benefit every employee by making a more equitable and effective working environment.

See also:

Compliance everywhere all at once

The rules for employment and tax are different in state, city, and even county. Remote work led to a dramatic increase in the number of locations a business operates in. However, the size of the People, Finance, and Legal teams remained the same.

There is step change in the amount of compliance work and complexity that businesses need to keep up with. In the US, 50 states might as well be 50 countries with all of the rules and changes businesses are expected to comply with.

This is the problem that Mosey is addressing.

See also:

Accommodating worker preferences

With the rise of return-to-office policies, it’s clear what management’s preferences are. As I mentioned earlier though, it will never be all or nothing—competing for top talent now necessitates accommodating remote work. Similarly, not every organization or worker should be remote.

That leaves us with the final challenge: worker preferences. Some people prefer working in an office. Some people prefer working remotely. Some will change their mind.

Self-selection might be one way this plays out. People with a preference for remote choose working at a company that is fully remote. People that prefer in-office, will work at a fully collocated organization.

Of course, as a business grows larger they will need to accommodate more preferences. I imagine the ultimate solution for larger organizations is hybrid but rather than individuals splitting their time between home and office, the decision of how the team works will be pushed down to teams and their managers.